-Among those whose intelligently directed labors have resulted in the agri-cultural development of Santa Clara County is William R. Porter, who is the owner of one of the most valuable prune orchards in this part of the state and is also fruit buyer for Hunt Brothers' Packing Company. A native son of California, he was born in Watsonville, January 22, 1886, of the marriage of Charles Henry and Elizabeth Ann (Underhill) Porter. In the maternal line he is a member of an old English family, while the American progenitor of the Porter family was a native of Scotland, establishing his home in this country during the period of the Revolutionary War. The paternal grandfather, Dr. John Porter, followed the profession of medicine and was a man of marked patriotism and public spirit. In commemoration of his professional service and unselfish devotion to the sick of Duxbury and environs, the people of that region erected to his memory an impressive monument. He was one of the most prominent men of his day and was a personal friend of Daniel Webster. His daughter, Jane Porter, married Dr. Bancroft and on her wedding day Daniel Webster presented her with a diamond ring which she kept until her death. She willed it to her niece and namesake, Jane Elizabeth Porter, a sister of the subject of this sketch, and when she died it went to her mother, who in turn presented it to her son, William R. Porter, on his wedding day and it is now one of his cherished keepsakes.

 The grandmother, Ann (Thomas) Porter, was also a member of an old family and the possessor of considerable talent in poetry, being able to compose letters in rhyme, and she became well known as a poetess. William Porter's mother was a native of Boston, Mass. Her parents, James and Ann (Todd) Underhill, came from Devonshire; England, to Massachusetts, and she was the youngest of their five children and the only member of the family born in the United States. George K. Porter, an uncle of our subject, came to California in the early '60s, finally settling at what is now San Fernando, Cal., where he owned a large ranch and here he was joined about ten years later by his brother, Charles H. Porter, who afterward returned to Boston to visit his old home, where his marriage occurred; with his bride he went to Kansas City, Mo., being employed in the car shops of the Santa Fe Railroad, but owing to ill health he left that city and returned to Boston, where for a short time he was employed as a master mechanic. He then returned to California, settling in Watsonville, where he purchased an eighty-acre ranch and devoted his attention to farming, and also to the harness and saddlery business. To Mr. and Mrs. Porter were born three children: James U., a rancher of Santa Clara County; Jane Elizabeth, who died in 1900, at  the age of sixteen years and seven months; and William R., the subject of our review. Charles H. Porter and his wife now live retired in San Jose.

In the pursuit of an education, William R. Porter attended the Watsonville grammar schools and then went to Boston, where he completed a course in Comers Business College. On completing his studies he secured a position as office assistant with Wason & Company, a large wholesale grocery house in Boston, established in 1837, and remained with that firm for five years, being promoted until he became a traveling salesman. In 1905 he returned to California with the family, and going to San Francisco, he became assistant cashier and bookkeeper for the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, with which he remained for seven months, or until the time of the earthquake. Six weeks afterward, when their plant was established in Alameda County, he again entered the service of that corporation, continuing with them until the plant was discontinued. His father had purchased a twenty-seven acre fruit ranch at Los Gatos and William assisted in its de-velopment and cultivation. In 1913 with his brother he purchased his father's ranch and they engaged in the raising of poultry. Starting with eighteen hens, he soon developed a large business, having at one time as many as 2,000 laying hens. For fourteen years he successfully conducted this business with the exception of the year 1911, when he acted as cashier of the A. H. Martin Grain Company of San Jose, the undertaking then being managed by his brother. In 1916 Mr. Porter purchased the interest of his brother and continued the business alone until 1920, when he sold the ranch. In 1918 he had accepted a temporary position with the Hunt Brothers Packing Company, but his services were so valuable to the concern that he was induced to remain and is now their fruit buyer, largely conf"ming his opera-tions to Santa Clara County, although· he visits the entire state in their interests. He resides on his ten-acre prune ranch, situated on Prune Ridge Avenue, a short distance west of San Jose, purchasing the land in May, 1920, and paying for it one of the highest prices ever paid for ranch land in the Santa Clara Valley. It is well irrigated and supplied with all modern improvements, constituting one of the model fruit farms of the county.

In San Jose, on December 15, 1915, Mr. Porter married Miss Elsie A. Aschmann, a native of San Francisco and a daughter of William A. and Elizabeth (Jung) Aschmann, one of the old-time mer-chants of San Francisco. Mrs. Porter attended the grammar'and high schools of San Francisco and by her marriage has become the mother of a daughter, June Elizabeth. Mr. Porter is a Republican in his political views and fraternally he is identified with the Masons, belonging to Los Gatos Lodge No. 292, F. & A. M., and with his wife is a member of the Eastern Star. Throughout his career he has closely applied himself to the work in hand, and he now ranks with the successful orchardists and valued citizens of Santa Clara County.

Transcribed by Carolyn Feroben from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 786